Modernizing existing applications is about embracing change and it is not human to want to re-engineer something that is already working! However, the world today is about digitization, cloud transformation, robotics and analytics. In this brave new world, being stuck with legacy applications can be suicidal for businesses. In spite of the reasons for change being so explicitly clear, many organizations find it extremely difficult to migrate their legacy applications. The reason in most cases arises from the fear that existing systems and architecture may make migration complex and affect existing processes. In some cases the need to change is not clearly visible and modernization’s weighted advantages do not make a strong case for change. In a few cases it could simply be inertia.
The fear of change or modernization is the primary reason why many organizations are stuck with legacy systems. However, shifting economic and competitive landscapes demand organizations to continually reinvent their information environment. This is required to achieve scalability and cost savings – both vital for survival.
The advantages of modern architecture such as scalability, non-disruptive services and upgrades, easy deployment provide companies with the ammunition to move forward. While CIO’s may shudder with fear at the thought of mass changes to their IT structure, the opportunities out there are immense. For example, cloud has reached a level of maturity and reliability making it a viable substitute to IT infrastructure. Users demand more and their noise and clutter more voluble. Enterprise technology is cheaper and as good, if not even better than box software.
Two compelling reasons for migration:
Customers are growing accustomed to integrated experiences and that is a fact. Whether to do their banking transactions, booking airline tickets or ordering food, they expect their applications to exceed expectations. Uber, Airbnb, Netflix are the brain children of these expectations. They are giving customers what they want and that is helping their revenues to add up better and faster. According to a Forrester report, organizations modernize for a variety of reasons, but the common themes are faster response to rapidly changing markets, empowered customers, and nimble competitors. (“Application Modernization, Service by Microservice” –Forrester 11/20/2015)
Why pay more when you can get it for less? Makes absolute logical sense, which is why the cloud is enveloping the infrastructure space. Rigid, unwieldy networks are being replaced by secure, always available cloud infrastructure and there are multiple options available making it even more viable.
Open source technologies are great enablers of change. They are paving the way for businesses to keep ahead of technology innovation at an unimaginable pace.
For example, a real estate company had a C++ thick-client, Windows only application. Integration with other applications was slow and difficult. Modernization resulted in a cloud-based web application which simplified usability resulting in increased volume of traffic to the site. The slick platform is scalable and user-friendly. For the real-estate company, the platform is a business enabler.
The central factor behind application modernization lies in retaining the platform’s ethos and adding features to enhance its power to perform better. When organizations stop thinking of their IT as separate from the business and instead see it as a business enabler the two clinchers given above will make absolute sense. As Gartner advises, “Application modernization efforts require an organizational-level strategy and plan that involves all aspects of the IT organization.